The rising disparity in education between those in the urban and rural
areas in Nigeria has shown clearly that the lockdown order by the
Federal government on schools is not the best option to address the
challenges occasioned by Coronavirus in the system.
President Mohammadu Buhari had on 29th June, 2020, approved the
recommendation of the Presidential Task Force on COVID19 (PTF COVID-19)
on Safe Reopening of Schools for students in graduating classes (Primary
6, JS3, SS3). This is done in order to prepare the students for their
examination and brige the gap created by COVID-19 in education.
In an attempt to curtail the spread of the COVID-19 in Nigeria, the
Federal Government had in March, ordered the lockdown of schools and
closure of many social platforms. This prompted some state governments
to commenced digital lectures, while some private schools continue to
teach their students online.
Unfortunately, because of the epileptic power supply and other
inadequacies in the country, some students continue to stay at home
without learning either online or offline. While some continue to
advance in education.
This is complicated by the hardship caused by the lockdown on the
economic activities due to the upsurge in the number of cases tested
positive of the virus. In order to minimize the loss caused by this
lockdown, some employers withheld the salaries of workers, placed some
on half salary and in some cases disengaged some who happen to be the
parents of these students.
Because of the paucity of funds, some parents could not afford to buy
generator to power their television set. While those that have, struggle
to fuel it. This has really affected the objective of the digital
lectures, widen the education gap between students across the country
and shows that the lockdown order in education will be
counter-productive at the long run if not quickly replaced with a better
Infact, the rate at which coronavirus continues to spread worldwide
shows clearly that the lockdown order in education is unsustainable
because of the future effect on the students, country and the world at
For instance, the number of people that were tested positive of the
virus in March when the lockdown order was seen to be the best solution
was not up to 3 millions, today, it has passed 11 millions worldwide.
Most countries that started this lockdown order in education have
replaced it with social distancing after realizing that coronavirus is
not going to stop in the nearest future. This also should be adopted in
Though, looking at the shortage of manpower, dilapidated infrastructure
and other challenges drawing back the wheel of education system in
Nigeria even before the importation of coronavirus, it will be easy to
jump to conclusion that social distancing might not work in the country.
But the question barely comes to mind is: when is coronavirus going to
end in Nigeria?
This is the reason social distancing method needs to replace the
lockdown order in education before it will be too late. Social
distancing will reduce the growing inequality in education and prevent
mass failure in future.
To do this, the government needs to overhaul the education system by
employing more teachers, divide the school hours into three section for
instance, morning section, afternoon session and evening section. Make
each section 3hours in order to avoid break time and place the teachers
Send teachers above 50 years on compulsory leave and stop the Ministry
of Humanitarian Affairs Disaster Management and Social Development from
disengaging N-Power Volunteers because this the time we need more hands
Organize meetings with stakeholders in education and put in place
measures such as water point, sanitizers, among others in order to
prevent the spread of the virus in schools.
Create temporary health centers in schools and ask those under the
N-power health scheme to mount them so that they can be checking the
temperature of the students as the come and leave the school premises on
Set up monitoring team that will contain government officials,
Parent-Teachers Association (PTA) members and people from the N-power
Scheme to ensure compliance.
Use the fund budgeted for the home feeding programme to purchase face
shade, noise mask and distribute them free to the students because the
major disseater that needs urgent attention now in education is the
Though, this would consume more money but it worth it, because the way
covid-19 is growing in the country, it is obvious that the virus might
not leave in the nearest future and if the lockdown order continues,
there would be a lot of out of school children which will increase crime
rate in future. This is because an idle mind is the laboratory of the
Therefore, government should lift ban on schools and put in place
measures that will engender social distancing, hygienic living among
students, so that the nation will not because of the COVID-19 sow the
seed of inequality which might increase different types of crime
threatening the peace and unity in Nigeria.